On Tuesday, Larry Brooks of the New York Post dropped a surprising name into the Blue Jackets' head coaching search.
So I have heard an intriguing name attached to the Blue Jackets if Babcock is not hired. This would be a long shot for sure but Im told that Sergei Fedorov could be in mix.— Larry Brooks (@NYP_Brooksie) May 23, 2023
Sergei Fedorov: Wouldn’t this be a fascinating hire? Fedorov, 53, has followed his legendary playing career, which included three seasons in Columbus, with an impressive career as a manager and coach in Russia’s KHL. His CSKA Moscow club is back in the Gagarin Cup final this year. He has one more year on his contract with the KHL, and it’s unclear if he desires a return to the NHL.
Fedorov is the head coach of CSKA Moscow of the KHL, widely regarded as the second-best league in the world, and has coached his team to back-to-back wins in the Gagarin Cup, the league's playoff title. Fedorov has been on CSKA's staff since 2012-13, spending his first five seasons as the general manager before transitioning to a senior advisor for the next four seasons. These past two seasons were his first as a head coach, so he has a 100% success rate as a bench boss thus far.
As great of a coach as Fedorov is and can become it will be hard for his coaching career to exceed his playing career. Fedorov is in the Hockey Hall of Fame, and for good reason. He posted 483-696--1179 in 1248 regular season games in addition to 52-124--176 in 183 playoff games. He's a three-time Stanley Cup champion, a two-time Selke Trophy winner, the 1990-91 Art Ross Trophy winner, and the 1993-94 winner of the Hart and Lester B. Pearson Trophies. In 2017, he was named to the NHL's 100 greatest players list.
He's also familiar with the Blue Jackets, having played 185 games over three seasons for them.
Yes, this would be a shocking hire. But, Fedorov has had success as a head coach, is familiar with Columbus, and knows what it takes to win at the highest level. Also, with Kirill Marchenko, Yegor Chinakhov, and Dmitri Voronkov all being young Russians on the team next year, could that be appealing to Fedorov or at least be helpful for those players?
However, the Blue Jackets just fired a coach, Larsen, after giving him his first NHL head-coaching job, so do they want to go down that road again? Does Fedorov want to coach a team that finished with the second-worst record in the league last year?
At the very least, this would be an intriguing hire and it would make the Blue Jackets an interesting team to cover next season. It would also go away from the NHL's trend of hiring "retread" coaches.
The Blue Jackets need to win again soon, and Fedorov has won plenty, so in that sense, it would be a perfect fit.